Thursday, September 9, 2010

Grinding Your Own Chili Peppers

I've been having some fun this summer courtesy of a $6 dehydrator purchased at a garage sale.

Having absolutely no idea about what I was doing, I tried drying chili peppers and making my own paprika, ground red pepper, and other ground chili mixes.

This is definitely not a how to post. Just a report on what I've done and an encouragement that if you find a $6 dehydrator at a garage sale, buy it.

Some of the peppers were grown by Alexis on our back deck.

Some were purchased at the Market Square Farmers Market.

I tried cold smoking some (learned I should have cut them up first).

We interrupt this post for a Celebrity Produce Lookalike Sighting....The bell pepper is one from our plants this year and credit goes to Alexis for recognizing the face.

But whatever I did, I ended up deseeding the peppers and slicing them up into pieces. The thicker the skins of the peppers, the smaller the pieces needed to be. Then I'd dry them from anywhere from 12 to 36 hours.

I just guessed that they were done when the peppers were inflexible and crispy almost like plastic. I wanted them to break in my fingers. If they still had bend to them, I left them in the dehydrator.

Then I would put them in the coffee grinder.

I had to experiment with how long to grind them. 10 seconds produced a very coarse grind.

Twenty seconds yielded a hearty grind that would be good when looking for bold flavors in a rub.

But 30 seconds seemed to give the typical "ground pepper" texture.

My red pepper batch was pure red cayenne peppers that dried about 12 hours. It's hot but more flavor than hot and I will hate using store bought cayenne ever again.

The paprika was made from red bell peppers. Don't think I did this one right. The thick peppers took 36 hours to dry out. The ground pepper mix doesn't remind me of paprika but it is a kick ass ground sweet pepper with that classic roasted red pepper taste.

Then there was the "mongrel mix". I threw in a blend of peppers ranging from poblanos to some very hot yet tiny thai chili peppers. The ground mix is the green one in the first picture and buddy, it packs the heat and pungent chili flavor. I'm playing with a bit of it, the "paprika", and cumin for my own chili powder.

Again, I am entertaining myself, this is NOT an instructional post. But isn't that what food blogging is about? Don't take yourself too seriously and have some fun!

Have you ever dried your own peppers and have some tips to share?
Have you ever found a celebrity in your produce bin? Jesus on your toast? Elvis on a bunion?

18 comments:

  1. I am loving this idea - I grew several kinds of peppers this year. The little red demon chiles turned out to be hotter than my little sister, and I wondered what to do with them after I added them to my pickled beans and various spicy dishes. No dehydrator, but I can still hang them to dry and grind them up!
    No celebrity sitings here, but I'm going to watch now. Love the turtle pepper. :P

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  2. What is a girl supposed to do when she lives in NYC. And so no one has garages. And so no one has garage SALES. tragedy. If ever I've heard of one. where else am I supposed to find a dehydrator and so that I can dry my own chili peppers?!?!?!

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  3. I've never dehydrated anything...but I would love to do something like this. Why buy store bought spices when you can create your own?
    Oh...and by the way, I've never found a celebrity in my produce section, but I did see Wesley Snipes on the dance floor, does that count for anything :)

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  4. Toast and bunions....I'll ask my grandmother who she sees LMAO!!! How fun to have dried your own peppers. I use to have a dehydrator (before I was "this" into cooking...like....15? yrs ago?) but I never used it and now i have no idea if I even still have it. hmmm....hoping I do. Time to go on a hunt in the garage :)

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  5. TMNT!! That was a favorite of my son's - well, the original ones that is. :) You are right, you have spoiled yourself to any store bought now. Just remember, this fresh made stuff is much more potent, so you need lots less.

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  6. I've toyed with buying a dehydrator and if I saw one at a garage sale would grab it. Love the celebrity produce shots! Too funny. Love this idea of grinding peppers.

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  7. Looks like you had some good fun, Chris. I grow and grind paprika peppers and they always take at least a day, but usually more, to dry. Welcome to the world of what paprika is supposed to taste like - nice sweet pepper flavor which will add alot to what you cook vs the almost tasteless commercial version - it's no wonder, it's used mostly just for color on top of deviled eggs and potato salad. When I make my own rub, I use homemade paprika and ancho powder and it makes a world of difference.

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  8. I've got several pounds (pre-dried weight) of cayenne's strung up and hanging in the kitchen right now. A couple red poblanos, too, though I'm not sure how they'll do just hanging to dry, rather than using a dehydrator.

    I've been making my own chili powder for a few years now; makes a huge difference. I started with Alton Brown's recipe, and run with it from there.

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  9. Cool, really really cool- the photo looking like the Ninja Turtle, lol, no you know I am all about the peppers and my dried mixes! Good for you, will enjoy the fresh so much better! Spread the love too *hint*!

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  10. Order anything from Pizza Hut and they give you tons of those little packs of dried chili pepper. That's my contribution. ;)

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  11. We made a really tasty rub that goes great on everything! http://www.backporchgourmet.com/2010/05/spices-spicy-garden-steak-rub.html

    It has dried radishes, peppers, tomatoes, green onions and salt and pepper. It has a great flavor and goes great on a steak.

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  12. Ninja Peppers...got to love that! I once saw Elvis on a hospital room door, he was smiling and so was I, thanks to morphine. I'm so impressed - making your own cayenne/paprika...why don't you bag some up and sell it? I'll buy the first bag! There is no way I'll attempt this - you've got me thinking I need a BGE but a dehydrator?!? No, a thousand times NO!

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  13. That is awesome! The more of my meal that can come directly from me the better. I have peppers that are just about ready for picking. I'm going to spend a weekend doing this. Thanks for the post!

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  14. You crack me up Chris - Jesus on toast, ROFL!
    I do have a CSN gift code to use, I was all set to get a nice meat slicer, but might have to go check out the dehydrators before I decided for sure. Just looking at your photos is making me drool and crave hot and spicy!

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  15. Nicely done! I know what I'll be looking for the next time I hit a garage sale.

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  16. Got a dehydrator but would like to know what you use to grind the peppers? I used our food processor, but the grind was too coarse. Would like makes and models!

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  17. Have you ever tried using dried pimiento peppers for your paprika? mmm

    Grind your dried peppers with a coffee grinder. That will get you a fine powder.

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  18. I have been growing peppers for about 3-4 years and love trying different uses for them! I planted cayenne peppers for the first time this year and had the idea to make powder. As a fellow griller, I am anxious to use my own pepper powder in a homemade rub. Do you have any tips, suggestions or advice?

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